When Dale Sorensen, Sr. and his wife Matilde Sorensen, founded Dale Sorensen Real Estate (DSRE) in 1978, they envisioned operating a successful firm with strong ethics and integrity and a place for other agents to call home.
Little did they know that 38 years later they would lead not only the most successful real estate firm in Indian River County, but also one of the most philanthropic companies on the Treasure Coast.
The company now has five offices and over 130 agents who manage, guide, create, volunteer at and serve dozens of nonprofits and their events, while donating hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, time and advertising.
But it’s more than volunteering and donating that drives this company. If real estate is the blood of DSRE, philanthropy is the heart beat, pulsing through each agent and every member of the staff.
From the outside looking in, it seems this team searches for opportunities to serve their communities, reaching out to nonprofits and other organizations, listening closely for stories of those in need and tapping into family and friends for direction.
Stories are shared on Facebook, through email and over coffee of families that have lost homes and children who are food insecure. And DSRE responds.
Agents have found homes for pets whose owners have died. Sometimes charity begins in the office, drawing a circle around a fellow co-worker who has lost a spouse or other family member.
Growing their philanthropy while growing their company has become a family affair with son Dale, Jr. and daughter Elizabeth following very closely in their parents’ footsteps of becoming “servant leaders.”
“We were taught from a very young age that giving back is not just an opportunity, it’s a responsibility,” said Dale Sorensen, Jr., Managing Partner for DSRE.
“Vero Beach is our home and DSRE our family. Our parents created a culture of philanthropy that seems to draw others who are like- minded in sharing their time and talent. It means not only trying to better and benefit yourself, but reaching out and giving a hands up to others less fortunate.”
Sometimes, it also means making tough decisions — taking the spotlight off the company and putting it where it’s most beneficial.
The occasion presented itself most recently when Dale Sorensen, Jr., an avid tennis player, volunteered to give up naming rights to what was previously known as the USTA SorensenRealEstate.com Tennis Classic, now known as the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships.
“This was a tough decision for us, but we knew that putting the event in the name of a nationally known charity would enable the event to raise more dollars and help support a nonprofit organization at the same time.
We’re still a big supporter and a sponsor but now there’s a larger team approach to help this event grow. When I called Tom Fish with the idea, I knew in my heart this was the right thing to do.”
DSRE sales agent Bill Baysura said the move was not surprising.
“It was a bold move on Dale, Jr.’s part to bring the tennis championship here to begin with and it’s great to see, but not surprising, that this company’s concern is bigger than real estate and that the charity involved is their number one goal. The Sorensens have a tendency to walk quietly and lead by example.”
Elizabeth Sorensen is a dynamic leader in the community herself, one of Vero Beach’s up and coming young professionals. But, she too has grown up with a sense of community responsibility and feels it’s her moral obligation to continue the company’s philanthropic culture.
“Real Estate agents are by nature outgoing and friendly, so it’s a natural fit for them to be out in the community asking for help on behalf of those less fortunate,” she says.
“And while the younger generation is extremely cognizant and thoughtful of the world around them, they handle and manage philanthropy differently, using social media as a valuable tool to get a message of need out quickly and effectively.”
Knowing that the future of the company’s culture of giving is secure gives a certain sense of peace to those at the helm now.
“My son, who is only 4 now, will grow up just as I did, learning the importance of giving back to your own community first,” said Dale, Jr. “And I love knowing that he will be a part of something much bigger than himself.”
For more information, please visit DSRE at http://www.SorensenRealeEtate.com.